Re: Is the iPod too lo-fi for you?
I have my own experiences in trying out different configurations, as I work in custom services for a large electronics retailer, and an audiophile and an Electronics engineer....here's what I've found from trying it myself:
Any CODEC compression, any type, any rate, removes the 'sparkle' in audio...the sound-staging/imaging simply vanishes. Even FLAC. I've A/B'd with an Elan VIA DJ [ripped lossless] to a Primare CD21, and it's astonishing what musical information is lost when heard in a 'better' sounding stereo system.....and that's with 'standard' CD too. (as opposed to SACD's or HDCD's).
There is an exception.....the Niveus Denali, but at $5k! When it is used for ripping and playback, the results truly are indiscrenable from the original CD, and that's been a concensus of many people in our company.
Personally, I use Control4 to operate 2 Sony 400 disc megachangers, so for my listening sessions, I can listen disc direct, with analog connections; the result is terrific. I've used my PC as a video server too, but the video degradation is astonishing versus disc direct also.
However (in support of CODEC's), I listen to Rhapsody via my Sonos system all the time, as background music. While this doesn't sound disc-direct-like, it's darn good. In my car, I settle for the convenience of MP3 CD's, trading off sound for convenience (of fitting 10 albums on 1 CD). I'm perosnally not a fan of near-field listening anyway (in-car) plus ambient noise means compression is acceptable.
Well, that's my ten cents......what have others experienced?